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  • Alison Lincoln

Wisdom is the anticipation of consequence

Being on the wrong side of 40 and rapidly heading towards 50 I was delighted to learn from Daniel Levitin’s book, The Changing Mind, that far from gradually losing my marbles (and my nerve) my brain is actually developing wisdom. According to Daniel, wisdom comes from the accumulated set of things we’ve seen and experienced. These experiences allow us to detect patterns and use these patterns to predict future outcomes.

Throughout the course of our riding lives we will have done things both wise and unwise. Hopefully, we reach a point where the wise actions outnumber the unwise. Over the 10, 15, 20 years of riding and training horses we will have developed our ability to examine problems and make decisions from a perspective that allows us to increase the likelihood of a good outcome. In effect we’ve learnt to harness the power of hindsight.

Maybe this explains why equestrian sport is dominated by riders and trainers beyond the first flush of youth. It’s also why we must refrain from thinking of ourselves as less bold or brave as we get older. We‘re just much better at anticipating the potential consequences of our actions.

I for one suddenly feel much better about my advancing years, my decision to (temporarily) go back to ground work following a fall from a rearing horse and my ever increasing wisdom!

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